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October 3, 2013
Office closures being felt by local citizens

While the federal government shutdown has impacted an undetermined number of military and federal workers in Tooele County, residents are feeling the impact in other ways.

The first local program effected by the shutdown Tuesday was the federal Women, Infants, and Children program, commonly known as WIC. WIC provides vouchers for nutritional food, education, and screening for low-income at risk mothers, expectant mothers, and their children up to age five.

However, the state WIC program worked with the federal government to find enough money to keep the WIC program in Utah open until the end of October.

“Starting Monday morning, our WIC office will be open as usual,” said Myron Bateman, Tooele County Health department director.

The Bureau of Land Management has also shut down, except for law enforcement and emergency response. The BLM notified the Tooele County Commission that Clover Springs and Simpson Springs campgrounds, along with the Knolls Recreation Area in the county, have been closed.

The U.S. Forest Service has also furloughed all employees and curtailed all work except for fire suppression, emergency service, law enforcement, and protection of public property.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service office in Tooele is closed, too. The office administers the farm bill and provides technical assistance to improve range lands.

The shutdown may also affect Tooele County’s recovering real estate market.

The USDA is not processing rural home loan applications and the Internal Revenue Service is not verifying tax returns, an important step in approving home loan applications.

The Federal Housing Administration has also slowed down the approval process for loans, according to Chris Sloan, broker for Tooele Group 1 Real Estate.

When the shutdown will end remains uncertain. A Whitehouse meeting held yesterday with congressional leaders and President Obama did not yield any progress.

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